StoryTRACKS Book Activity for How the Crane Got Its Blue Eyes

StoryTRACKSBOOK TITLE: How the Crane Got Its Blue Eyes
AS TOLD BY: Jean Cook
WRITTEN BY: Elsie Jimmie

SUMMARY OF BOOK: While berry-picking, a crane leaves his eyes on a rock to watch out for people. But when the eyes flow away on the tide, the crane has to find replacements. He tries many berries — all unsatisfactory — until he tries blueberries! Download this Activity Sheet in PDF.


Ask questions and use what the child already knows to add to the discussion, assisting the child in understanding and enjoying the book.

  1. Talk about what a “legend” is, how a traditional story might get passed down through a culture. Does your family know any legends?
  2. Have you ever seen a crane? This kind of crane is a Sandhill Crane.
  3. Talk about the berry-picking experience: “Have you ever picked berries? How can you tell if they’re ripe? How do you know where to look?”


  1. “Is it really possible to take eyes out and have them see for you?” A story can use creative ways of illustrating keeping watch, being vigilant.
  2. The eyes mistake other things for people. “How could they think that?”
  3. After three mistakes, the crane doesn’t believe the eyes. This may remind you of another story: the boy who cried wolf.
  4. Spend time with the pictures: “Does the river look like it’s moving?” “How does the crane’s vision change the way the pictures are drawn?”
  5. Look around you: what’s the same or different from the terrain in the book. Are there berries you can pick?


  1. This story is a creative way of explaining something — the changing color of cranes’ eyes. What other stories do you know that try to explain Nature? Make one up together!
  2. Try putting different colored glass, plastic, or film in front of your child’s eyes; how does the view change?
  3. Try finding photos of Sandhill Cranes and together explore: what color are their eyes? Do they change color?
Print Friendly, PDF & Email